Global Environmental Awareness on Climate Change: Forest Protection: Wildfire Science Manual, Volume I, Part II
by Dr. Andreas Tertey Gboloo ~ Reviewed by Jacquelyn Gilchrist: –The US Review of Books

“We should not look for excuses but look for how we can mobilize our people and governments… a journey of a thousand miles, starts with a step.” —Author

Scientifically proven facts are indisputable, but that hasn’t stopped climate change deniers from trying. Much of the controversy regarding climate change stems from the recalcitrance of corporations to adhere to stricter emissions standards, which, consequently, is born of the fear of lower profits. Dr. Gboloo argues in favor of a different approach that doesn’t undermine private sector profits, but does have the potential to make a major impact on the future of the planet.

The author’s focus is on forests. He points to scientific research that suggests ramping up conservation efforts for the world’s tropical forests could provide up to 50% of the solution. Halting deforestation alone could curb carbon emissions by 15%. It’s the equivalent of the emissions of the entire transportation industry. Simply being smart about sustainable land use, argues the author, could trigger the change the planet desperately needs. Plus, sustainable land use contributes to healthier, more fiscally secure communities.

Dr. Gboloo’s book does not limit itself, geographically speaking. It is fitting to discuss global solutions to a global problem. It’s also appropriate and essential to effect change at every level of society. Individuals have as much responsibility as major corporations to preserve the world for future generations, argues Dr. Gboloo. And in regard to wildfire prevention, the responsibility rests almost entirely on the shoulders of everyday people.

In the U.S. alone, up to 90% of wildfires are ignited by the careless or reckless and intentional acts of humans. The simple act of discarding a cigarette butt improperly can be enough to spark a blaze that could wipe out thousands of acres of forest, destroy thousands of homes and businesses, and cost human lives. There are two primary ways that wildfires adversely affect climate change: By destroying the forests that stabilize the planet’s global climate and by releasing millions of metric tons of CO2 emissions while the flames are burning. Dr. Gboloo’s advice is simple: Take personal responsibility. Avoid leaving campfires unattended and confine cigarette smoking activities to areas where stray sparks do not pose a threat.

In other parts of the world, fires are intentionally set not out of malice or juvenile idiocy, but out of a need to feed one’s family. In parts of Africa and elsewhere, rural farmers intentionally set fires to make hunting game more efficient. The heart of the problem here, the author argues, is not that the fires are ignited, but that they are improperly managed. The lack of fire management is what leads to uncontrolled wildfires.

This book does much more than put the spotlight on the problem. Dr. Gboloo provides clear, concise guidance throughout, which is frequently accompanied by informative illustrations and charts. His approach is comprehensive, covering everything from the techniques necessary to build effective fire lines to the efficient delegation of responsibilities by wildfire crew bosses. Wildfire workers will find the section on safety and health particularly useful, and policymakers will appreciate the discussion on budget slashing via wildfire prevention. (Wildfires in the U.S. cost at least $1.8 billion each year.)

Anyone who wishes to become a better-informed steward of the Earth would be hard-pressed to find a more comprehensive volume on deforestation and wildfires, and their link to climate change. Dr. Gboloo’s extensive research and commonsense approach to climate change action are a praiseworthy effort towards addressing one of mankind’s most urgent problems.

RECOMMENDED by the US Review of Books

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